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UK CollectorsNew to figure collecting / Import costs

  • StrangeShrooms
    StrangeShroomsRegular Boarder • lv4
    Offline7 replies
    #1
    26 days ago
    Sorry if this isn't the best place for this, I didn't know where else to post this

    I am new to this community and collecting, got my first figure recently at a local anime con and want to grow my collection to something more.
    Interested in using some sites, I started using Dekai Anime as it is Uk based and has no Import costs, and am thinking of getting some figures from there.
    How much do you guys normally spend on Import costs?


    What tips and suggestions would you give to a new person in this community?


    But also thinking of using Solaris and AmiAmi. Would you suggest get a figure from one of these sites, for someone who is new to collecting figures?

    There is a figure on Solaris I want that costs £95 and delivery for an additional £15, Solaris say it'd be £16-£21 for import costs. Is this price accurate to what the import costs would be?

    Thank you for reading.
  • Catayoyo
    CatayoyoRegular Boarder • lv9
    Offline11 replies
    #2
    26 days ago
    At the moment packages slip through if the item is cheaper than £135. I’m not sure how long this will last, but it has worked out for me since January. Also most UK stores often cost more than if you did order directly with import fees… it really depends on what you want to buy.
  • Kuromii
    KuromiiデュエーデュRegular Boarder • lv19
    Offline652 replies
    #3
    26 days ago • Updated 26 days ago
    Hi, and welcome to collecting! :D I've been a collector for the last 10 years and have ordered from basically every reputable (and , less reputable) Japanese shop out there, so hopefully I can help!

    How much do you guys normally spend on Import costs?

    Nowadays you'll get no import costs if your package is valued under £135. Back before Brexit kicked in in January, we had a 20% VAT charge on all incoming packages valued £15 (~¥2000) or more if marked as merchandise (or clearly from a company; Border Force ain't often fooled by the "Gift" mark on things blatantly from a shop).

    So yeah. No charges on parcels under £135. Some Japanese shops will undervalue, but more on those in a min.


    What tips and suggestions would you give to a new person in this community?

    1) Buy from Japan, not the UK, if buying from a shop rather than an individual. Japan is 99/100 times going to be cheaper, especially now that you'll have no customs charges on parcels under £135. If you order from the UK you'll be paying more as they add on the tax they would have paid on their huge ferry shipments from Japan, plus extra to make a profit (they're businesses after all). Japanese shops – specifically the likes of Mandarake and Surugaya – often have very good prices for older or rarer merch compared to anything you'll find over here.

    2) Make use of the secondhand Japanese market. Secondhand doesn't always mean "open and used"; a lot of goods sold on Mandarake, Surugaya, and Yahoo! Japan Auctions are unopened (and they will indicate that they are). Manda and Suru in particular are good at listing faults (if there are any), but always look carefully at photos on Y!JA if you buy from an individual seller from there. Most sellers are decent and honest, though.


    Would you suggest get a figure from one of these sites (AmiAmi and Solaris), for someone who is new to collecting figures?

    AmiAmi is currently slow to dispatch orders iirc, but otherwise yes, they're good. They tend to overpack their shipping boxes though which can drive up their shipping prices. AmiAmi do not undervalue no matter what, so if your order is over £135 you'll have to pay duty fees and handling fees once it arrives in the UK.

    Solaris grossly overcharge, from what I've been able to gather. Anything you can find on Solaris can be found much cheaper elsewhere with a little patience. I don't know if they undervalue or how fast they are, but just browsing their site has me snorting in disbelief at their prices every time.

    I recommend BiginJapan for pre-orders (they have virtually no stock on hand outside of these, and they undervalue if asked), AmiAmi for orders under £135, Mandarake and Surugaya for released figures, and Yahoo! Japan Auctions and Mercari JP if you're desperate and Manda and Suru can't help. Suru, Y!JA, and Mercari require a forwarding service or proxy service though, which can be confusing for a new buyer. If you want to use those, I'd be happy to teach you how to use forwarding/proxy services, or even add your order to mine and be your proxy lol (I order from all three a lot).

    Hope this helps, let me know if I can help further :)
  • figuresuki
    figuresukiRegular Boarder • lv10
    Offline75 replies
    #4
    26 days ago
    I have been importing a lot more since we could not travel

    My experience is that importing from Japan works out cheaper at least for scales
    For prize figures there is not much difference, I have used Ninoma for those mostly as they are usually 2k yen for the figure and 1500 yen for the shipping.
    For pop up parade I find that DekaiAnime is cheaper if you pre-order as they usually heavily discount the price.
    For scales if you go to places like CD Japan, hobby search then they offer discounts for pre-orders, so even with shipping you save 30 or 40% over the uk price.

    As far as import costs are concerned, up until the end of last year there was a tendency to get hurt by those charges as they could be charged on small parcels.
    On large parcels it was hit and miss, I would say I got charged about 50% of the time depending on the courier.

    Since the start of this year I have not had a single customs charge.
    I have a couple of packages a month, some times more.
    I try to make sure that overall value is less than £135, noticeably so if possible, so only ship one scale at a time or keep the cost of other goods down.

    Currently the exchange rate is pretty good, so around 150 yen to the pound, so that gives around 19,000 yen as your limit unless you want to take a risk, maybe you could push to just over 20k yen.

    Be aware that if you do get hit for a customs charge that you will also pay vat on the shipping and the courier charges a handling fee. If you keep the price of the contents down then shipping is not counted in the value for determining if you get charged.


    One warning if you buy from Japanese sites is make sure to pay in Yen, some offer payment in UK Pounds but the exchange rate is terrible and likely that costs you an extra 10% of the value.
  • figuresuki
    figuresukiRegular Boarder • lv10
    Offline75 replies
    #5
    26 days ago • Updated 26 days ago
    I have not had anything from AmiAmi

    I have had a few scales from Solaris, they can be good for rare items but for popular items they will be more expensive than other sites

    Sites I use that have good prices and ship quickly
    CD Japan, also does points and discount vouchers as well as a lot of other goods like manga and CD's
    Hobby Link Japan, has a private warehouse so you can stack up goods for a couple of months and group them in a single parcel
    Hobby Search, good discounts on pre-orders, plenty of merchandise like acrylic stands, key chains, tapestries. Appears to carry very little stock so once their pre-orders are booked up then rare to get one after they come into stock, they give points also so you can get an extra discount.
    You can also order direct from good smile japan and they have a pretty good shipping price but they charge full price for pre-orders.
  • Titan_Scientist
    Titan_ScientistRegular Boarder • lv21
    Offline1,374 replies
    #6
    26 days ago
    I usually just order from Gamersheek (another UK store) nowadays because it eliminates the "will I or won't I get a customs slip in the post?" And it's easier to budget if I know the exact amount of money I'm spending.

    Amazon Japan is good because they let you pre-pay the VAT so you won't get a slip in the post.

    I've used Solaris Japan. Sometimes they're overpriced, but sometimes they're the last place you can get something for at a half-decent price.
  • StrangeShrooms
    StrangeShroomsRegular Boarder • lv4
    Offline7 replies
    #7
    26 days ago
    Catayoyo26 days ago#101919935At the moment packages slip through if the item is cheaper than £135. I’m not sure how long this will last, but it has worked out for me since January. Also most UK stores often cost more than if you did order directly with import fees… it really depends on what you want to buy.

    Alright that is great to know then, I wanted to ask this as I had heard someone that ordered through Solaris complain about having to pay £20 import costs for a £60 purchase. But after what I heard from some of the other kind replies I'm going to look at more Japan based sites like Suruga Ya.
    Thank you for this comment and the information you gave me, I appreciate it greatly. Have a nice night.
  • Catayoyo
    CatayoyoRegular Boarder • lv9
    Offline11 replies
    #8
    26 days ago
    StrangeShrooms26 days ago#101921309Alright that is great to know then, I wanted to ask this as I had heard someone that ordered through Solaris complain about having to pay £20 import costs for a £60 purchase. But after what I heard from some of the other kind replies I'm going to look at more Japan based sites like Suruga Ya.
    Thank you for this comment and the information you gave me, I appreciate it greatly. Have a nice night.


    Oh gosh no wonder you were worried then! I’ve never used Solaris, only AmiAmi, CDJapan, Mandarake and Buyee (for yahoo auctions preowned market) and I haven’t had any issues under £135 at all. (Both using registered small air packet and EMS). I think the person who commented after me is definitely close to my own experience though.

    Hope you manage to find a site that works for you though and happy collecting! It’s a bit of a slippery slope for the wallet! :D
  • StrangeShrooms
    StrangeShroomsRegular Boarder • lv4
    Offline7 replies
    #9
    26 days ago
    Kuromii26 days ago#101919970Hi, and welcome to collecting! :D I've been a collector for the last 10 years and have ordered from basically every reputable (and , less reputable) Japanese shop out there, so hopefully I can help!
    How much do you guys normally spend on Import costs?
    Nowadays you'll get no import costs if your package is valued under £135. Back before Brexit kicked in in January, we had a 20% VAT charge on all incoming packages valued £15 (~¥2000) or more if marked as merchandise (or clearly from a company; Border Force ain't often fooled by the "Gift" mark on things blatantly from a shop).
    So yeah. No charges on parcels under £135. Some Japanese shops will undervalue, but more on those in a min.
    What tips and suggestions would you give to a new person in this community?
    1) Buy from Japan, not the UK, if buying from a shop rather than an individual. Japan is 99/100 times going to be cheaper, especially now that you'll have no customs charges on parcels under £135. If you order from the UK you'll be paying more as they add on the tax they would have paid on their huge ferry shipments from Japan, plus extra to make a profit (they're businesses after all). Japanese shops – specifically the likes of Mandarake and Surugaya – often have very good prices for older or rarer merch compared to anything you'll find over here.
    2) Make use of the secondhand Japanese market. Secondhand doesn't always mean "open and used"; a lot of goods sold on Mandarake, Surugaya, and Yahoo! Japan Auctions are unopened (and they will indicate that they are). Manda and Suru in particular are good at listing faults (if there are any), but always look carefully at photos on Y!JA if you buy from an individual seller from there. Most sellers are decent and honest, though.
    Would you suggest get a figure from one of these sites (AmiAmi and Solaris), for someone who is new to collecting figures?
    AmiAmi is currently slow to dispatch orders iirc, but otherwise yes, they're good. They tend to overpack their shipping boxes though which can drive up their shipping prices. AmiAmi do not undervalue no matter what, so if your order is over £135 you'll have to pay duty fees and handling fees once it arrives in the UK.
    Solaris grossly overcharge, from what I've been able to gather. Anything you can find on Solaris can be found much cheaper elsewhere with a little patience. I don't know if they undervalue or how fast they are, but just browsing their site has me snorting in disbelief at their prices every time.
    I recommend BiginJapan for pre-orders (they have virtually no stock on hand outside of these, and they undervalue if asked), AmiAmi for orders under £135, Mandarake and Surugaya for released figures, and Yahoo! Japan Auctions and Mercari JP if you're desperate and Manda and Suru can't help. Suru, Y!JA, and Mercari require a forwarding service or proxy service though, which can be confusing for a new buyer. If you want to use those, I'd be happy to teach you how to use forwarding/proxy services, or even add your order to mine and be your proxy lol (I order from all three a lot).
    Hope this helps, let me know if I can help further :)


    Thanks a lot Catayoyo, for the warm welcome and your advice. I appreciate you greatly!

    I will take a lot of your advice on board.
    Thanks for telling me about how import costs work a bit better, I have still heard of some people having imports costs for cheaper orders than £135 though maybe they are a more rare occurrence or just with certain sites. Or people crying wolf possibly.

    As for you two big tips.
    For tip one I have started looking at Suruga Ya, the sites seems to have good stock and I will defiantly frequent here I think. But when it comes to more expensive figures (£50+) I'd say sites from japan seem way more reasonable in prices.

    For tip 2 I have been looking occasionally on second hand sites or tabs on sites, and am open to that. But I do think for my first couple of orders I'd prefer to go with first hand. Just in case of the worse.



    I see, I'll be more wary on Solaris then. Some deals I've seen are pretty bad on Solaris though the one I am interested in does look like a pretty good deal. I'll check other places and go there if it is my last option.
    For AmiAmi, the stock and prices look amazing. Though some people warned me that delivery times and product being damaged are pretty bad, so been a little bit skeptical.

    Thank you a lot for all this information and advice, I seriously appreciate it greatly.
    If I have any questions that come to mind in the passing days I may ask, but I feel satisfied right now. Thank you, have a nice night!
  • StrangeShrooms
    StrangeShroomsRegular Boarder • lv4
    Offline7 replies
    #10
    26 days ago
    Catayoyo26 days ago#101921318Oh gosh no wonder you were worried then! I’ve never used Solaris, only AmiAmi, CDJapan, Mandarake and Buyee (for yahoo auctions preowned market) and I haven’t had any issues under £135 at all. (Both using registered small air packet and EMS). I think the person who commented after me is definitely close to my own experience though.
    Hope you manage to find a site that works for you though and happy collecting! It’s a bit of a slippery slope for the wallet! :D

    Yeah ha. Thank you. I have not heard of Buyee or much about CDjapan but I will check them out!
    I will be careful on my wallet ha, only stepping my toes in this year. After I save up more I'll get a bit more serious into getting a sizey collection.
    Just currently looking for good deals on my favourite characters.
  • StrangeShrooms
    StrangeShroomsRegular Boarder • lv4
    Offline7 replies
    #11
    26 days ago
    figuresuki26 days ago#101921143I have been importing a lot more since we could not travel
    My experience is that importing from Japan works out cheaper at least for scales
    For prize figures there is not much difference, I have used Ninoma for those mostly as they are usually 2k yen for the figure and 1500 yen for the shipping.
    For pop up parade I find that DekaiAnime is cheaper if you pre-order as they usually heavily discount the price.
    For scales if you go to places like CD Japan, hobby search then they offer discounts for pre-orders, so even with shipping you save 30 or 40% over the uk price.
    As far as import costs are concerned, up until the end of last year there was a tendency to get hurt by those charges as they could be charged on small parcels.
    On large parcels it was hit and miss, I would say I got charged about 50% of the time depending on the courier.
    Since the start of this year I have not had a single customs charge.
    I have a couple of packages a month, some times more.
    I try to make sure that overall value is less than £135, noticeably so if possible, so only ship one scale at a time or keep the cost of other goods down.
    Currently the exchange rate is pretty good, so around 150 yen to the pound, so that gives around 19,000 yen as your limit unless you want to take a risk, maybe you could push to just over 20k yen.
    Be aware that if you do get hit for a customs charge that you will also pay vat on the shipping and the courier charges a handling fee. If you keep the price of the contents down then shipping is not counted in the value for determining if you get charged.
    One warning if you buy from Japanese sites is make sure to pay in Yen, some offer payment in UK Pounds but the exchange rate is terrible and likely that costs you an extra 10% of the value.

    Response to both messages

    Thank you for this response, I take all advice and listen to it.

    I do think that for prize figures would be similar costs either from UK sites or Japan sites.
    I will also be sure to check out CD Japan and Hobby search.

    About import costs, yeah I have now heard most people do not have a problem with this. Maybe is just advice to avoid Solaris then ha.

    and yeah VAT sucks, but hopefully I won't get hit by as I'll try to keep my orders under £135.

    For the paying in Yen tip, thnak you for that, had no idea that was a thing and is a good thing to know if it could save me 5% or 10% of costs. Thanks a ton for that.


    For Solaris I'll keep them as a last option then if I can't find a figure I am looking for anywhere else.

    For HobbyLink, CD Japan and Hobby Search. I will be sure to check them out.


    Thank you for all your advice and suggestions, I really am grateful. I hope you have a nice night.
  • StrangeShrooms
    StrangeShroomsRegular Boarder • lv4
    Offline7 replies
    #12
    26 days ago
    Titan_Scientist26 days ago#101921302I usually just order from Gamersheek (another UK store) nowadays because it eliminates the "will I or won't I get a customs slip in the post?" And it's easier to budget if I know the exact amount of money I'm spending.
    Amazon Japan is good because they let you pre-pay the VAT so you won't get a slip in the post.
    I've used Solaris Japan. Sometimes they're overpriced, but sometimes they're the last place you can get something for at a half-decent price.


    Gamersheek, haven't heard of them but I will give them a checkout
    Though I do think I will mainly be using more japan based sites from now on, unless the figure I want is more on the cheaper side.

    And yeah I agree with you on Solaris, sometimes good but mostly overpriced.

    Thank you for your suggestion and information, I appreciate it a lot. Have a nice night!
  • Catayoyo
    CatayoyoRegular Boarder • lv9
    Offline11 replies
    #13
    26 days ago
    StrangeShrooms26 days ago#101921336Yeah ha. Thank you. I have not heard of Buyee or much about CDjapan but I will check them out!
    I will be careful on my wallet ha, only stepping my toes in this year. After I save up more I'll get a bit more serious into getting a sizey collection.
    Just currently looking for good deals on my favourite characters.


    Buyee is a proxy service that’ll help connect you to japan’s yahoo auctions - it’s good for figures that have already released as Japan can price them a bit more fairly. Amiami has a preowned section that updates between 8:00am - 11am but it is a bit of a war zone.

    That is def a good approach to have though! I went too hard and fast in the first few months and ended up having to sell some :(
  • StrangeShrooms
    StrangeShroomsRegular Boarder • lv4
    Offline7 replies
    #14
    26 days ago
    Catayoyo26 days ago#101922843Buyee is a proxy service that’ll help connect you to japan’s yahoo auctions - it’s good for figures that have already released as Japan can price them a bit more fairly. Amiami has a preowned section that updates between 8:00am - 11am but it is a bit of a war zone.
    That is def a good approach to have though! I went too hard and fast in the first few months and ended up having to sell some :(

    ah thank you, is good to know the times they update.
    yeah are a handful of figures I am interested in that I’ll try find at a good reasonable price.
    Thanks again.
  • tiniestpup
    tiniestpupRegular Boarder • lv7
    Offline9 replies
    #15
    13 days ago
    Ahhh I'm reading through this thread and am now starting to worry a bit...(#`-_ゝ-)

    I have two pretty hefty preorders through Amazon Japan (around £150 each), but I've seen comments speaking about how they cover import taxes, etc., is this still true?

    I also have a £126 preorder with AmiAmi (excluding shipping which is yet to be calculated)...am I likely to get custom fees on that parcel? And if so is there any way to estimate how much that'll be? ;__; I'm sure I can cover the costs either way, but the anxiety within me is screaming z . z
  • Krwa
    KrwaRegular Boarder • lv7
    Online4 replies
    #16
    13 days ago
    tiniestpup13 days ago#102360630Ahhh I'm reading through this thread and am now starting to worry a bit...(#`-_ゝ-)
    I have two pretty hefty preorders through Amazon Japan (around £150 each), but I've seen comments speaking about how they cover import taxes, etc., is this still true?
    I also have a £126 preorder with AmiAmi (excluding shipping which is yet to be calculated)...am I likely to get custom fees on that parcel? And if so is there any way to estimate how much that'll be? ;__; I'm sure I can cover the costs either way, but the anxiety within me is screaming z . z


    From my experience I have not received customs charges from parcels that are valued at around £129. And I don't believe shipping cost is included in the calculation for custom charges.
  • tiniestpup
    tiniestpupRegular Boarder • lv7
    Offline9 replies
    #17
    13 days ago
    Krwa13 days ago#102361789From my experience I have not received customs charges from parcels that are valued at around £129. And I don't believe shipping cost is included in the calculation for custom charges.
    Ah I see, thank you so much! ^w^
  • MomoKun
    MomoKunRegular Boarder • lv6
    Offline3 replies
    #18
    13 days ago
    StrangeShrooms26 days ago#101919903Sorry if this isn't the best place for this, I didn't know where else to post this
    I am new to this community and collecting, got my first figure recently at a local anime con and want to grow my collection to something more.
    Interested in using some sites, I started using Dekai Anime as it is Uk based and has no Import costs, and am thinking of getting some figures from there.
    How much do you guys normally spend on Import costs?
    What tips and suggestions would you give to a new person in this community?
    But also thinking of using Solaris and AmiAmi. Would you suggest get a figure from one of these sites, for someone who is new to collecting figures?
    There is a figure on Solaris I want that costs £95 and delivery for an additional £15, Solaris say it'd be £16-£21 for import costs. Is this price accurate to what the import costs would be?
    Thank you for reading.


    Imma just plug this in www.gov.uk/trad...

    This site is very useful for calculating VAT and import fees for any items you order, you only have to put in the price and shipping cost. Sometimes very expensive figures might be better to be ordered from local shops, as VAT is gonna be huge. Think £300+ figures, like ITEM #1049502. A lot of european folks ordered her locally, I didn't just because I don't wanna wait several more months for her to come
  • figuresuki
    figuresukiRegular Boarder • lv10
    Offline75 replies
    #19
    12 days ago
    tiniestpup13 days ago#102360630Ahhh I'm reading through this thread and am now starting to worry a bit...(#`-_ゝ-)
    I have two pretty hefty preorders through Amazon Japan (around £150 each), but I've seen comments speaking about how they cover import taxes, etc., is this still true?
    I also have a £126 preorder with AmiAmi (excluding shipping which is yet to be calculated)...am I likely to get custom fees on that parcel? And if so is there any way to estimate how much that'll be? ;__; I'm sure I can cover the costs either way, but the anxiety within me is screaming z . z

    Amazon japan in my experience include vat and customs charges in the price you pay, it is pre-declared so you guarantee no more charges on top of what you pay Amazon.

    I have had a few parcels recently in the region of about £110 to £120 for the item, you are unlikely to get a charge on those values.
    If the value of the item is judged to incur vat then you will also pay vat on the shipping cost as well.

    So say you have an item that is £140 plus £50 shipping then you pay vat on £190
    If you have an item that is £120 plus £50 shipping then you wont pay any vat, as the items value is less then £135. The total cost including shipping is not used to determine if you pay only what you have to pay when you do.

    Vat is charged at 20% in the UK, however the parcel deliverer will also charge a customs handling fee which is between £8 and £15 depending on the delivery company.
  • tiniestpup
    tiniestpupRegular Boarder • lv7
    Offline9 replies
    #20
    12 days ago
    figuresuki12 days ago#102394901Amazon japan in my experience include vat and customs charges in the price you pay, it is pre-declared so you guarantee no more charges on top of what you pay Amazon.
    I have had a few parcels recently in the region of about £110 to £120 for the item, you are unlikely to get a charge on those values.
    If the value of the item is judged to incur vat then you will also pay vat on the shipping cost as well.
    So say you have an item that is £140 plus £50 shipping then you pay vat on £190
    If you have an item that is £120 plus £50 shipping then you wont pay any vat, as the items value is less then £135. The total cost including shipping is not used to determine if you pay only what you have to pay when you do.
    Vat is charged at 20% in the UK, however the parcel deliverer will also charge a customs handling fee which is between £8 and £15 depending on the delivery company.

    This is super helpful, thank you so much!(^-^)
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